I Heart Blogging: The Basics of Blogging

Since May I’ve been scheduled to speak about blogging in the writers group I attend. It’s a curiosity amongst some of the group and since I seem to be the resident blogger, I was asked to share some of my knowledge. I was absolutely delighted and excited to! And it just so happens that I’m fresh off the Blogher circuit so I’m incredibly high on blogging right now!

There were a few people who weren’t able to attend the meeting so I thought I’d share my outline and notes here on my blog. I have this series called {I Heart Blogging} and my notes fit perfectly under the umbrella of this series. However, we aren’t getting the fantastic discussion and great questions that happened in the group. BUT like I said, “blogging is a way of interacting.” SO if you have any questions, comments, or points to add, please leave them in the comments and lets get this conversation rolling!

The below outline and notes are a general, all-around, scratch-the-surface basics of blogging. I’ll start working on follow up posts that go into more detail about different subjects. I’ve already done posts about {my blogging experience}, {writing content for your blog}, and {using photography as a visual tool on your blog}. There was a lot of conversation about branding yourself as a writer and questions about promoting yourself and your blog so I’d love to write some posts about those topics to try and give any insight I might can offer.

I owe a lot to blogging.

I wouldn’t be sitting in this particular writer’s group had it not been for my blog. You see, {Lesli} told me about this writer’s group, and I found Lesli through a blog {this one if you’re curious}. So had I not been blogging, I wouldn’t have met Lesli, and I wouldn’t have started come to the writer’s group.

  1. MY BLOGGING HISTORY. I started blogging as a way to pass time in college between classes, as an online journal. Then, it evolved into using it as a tool to practice creative story telling. My goal became to take one moment or incident and put a magnifying glass to it to make it a worth-while story. Now, I’ve taken steps to make my blog “more professional” (I purchased my own domain, invested in a template design) because my goal is for people to take my writing and my photography seriously. I want to treat it as a business. I still use it as a writing tool but I’ve also incorporated using it as a visual tool as well for my photography. My personal goal for my blog is to inspire creativity and to ignite hope and faith in the lives of people who come across my writing. Blogging, for me, has given me an outlet to do those things and has brought me into this awesome community of people who are passionate about the same thing-sharing their voice.
    1. Definition –
      1. A blog is a website, but the factors that make a blog different than other websites are as follows:
        1. A blog is updated on a regular basis, with new content being added to previous content, rather than replacing it.
        2. Even professional blogs have a personal side to them, often reflecting the individual(s) behind the business.
        3. A blog allows for communication between the author and his or her readers, rather than just providing information. (Janet Barclay)
      2. Your blog is your window out to the world, so that everyone can see in to your hobbies, interests, and passions. Each blog has its own persona. (Everyday Thoughts from Life)
  1. There are so many different types of blogs. Here are the very basics:
    1. Personal – A blog’s primary role is a tool to publish an online diary or journal.  It is considered personal when the majority of blogging content is about your life.  It usually contains photos, events from your life, personal videos, and personal thoughts, opinions and feelings. (ie: hannahbunker.com)
    2. Business – Businesses can use blogs to promote their company and company’s product or service offerings.  It is utilized as more of a marketing and promotion tool.
    3. Media – News sites that utilize blogs to publish up to date and relevant content to it’s readers.  These companies usually blog about the information in their sector and it’s not uncommon for a single news source to have multiple blogs and bloggers in a single website.  (ie: Huffington Post, Fox, CNN)
    4. Non profit – Organizations that use blogs to raise awareness for their causes. (ie: DancingUponBarrenLand.com)
    5. Single topic – This blog only contains content about a certain topic or industry.  They publish their latest on their blog so similar interested people can get the latest news about that particular topic. (ie: Perez Hilton for entertainment, Gizmodo for technology, The Sartorialist for fashion, The Pioneer Woman for food) Cited: Cool Ryan.
  1. Platforms– the place where you can build your blog.
    1. WordPress.com (if you’re looking at using a free, sub-hosted blog with WordPress use WordPress.com NOT WordPress.org. The .org address is if you are self hosted and using WordPress as your platform. {Here} is a great post that explains the differences.)
    2. Blogger.com (free)
    3. Typepad (not free)
    4. Squarespace (not free, but purdy!)
    1. It’s a writing tool.–  “Blogging is street performing for the writer.” Rita Arens
      1. As a writer you need to exercise your writing muscles.
      2. Why blog? Why not just leave it on my computer? – because putting your work out there allows you to be provided feedback. Feedback makes us better.
      3. If we want to get better we need others to read it to get an outside view, for feedback to make sure that we are conveying what we wanted to in our writing.
      4. It makes you aware of your own voice.
    2. It’s a way to share your unique voice and story with the world.
      1. No one else can tell your story
      2. No one else can say something the same way you do.
      3. Think of the news. They’re only playing what they know, what’s put in front of them. It’s very broad and global.
      4. However, there’s a world full of bloggers who are regular people generating conversation about what is going on in the real world, in their community. THAT’s a unique voice.
      5. It’s so neat being a unique voice in the world sharing my experiences and my world because it helps people relate to what they are going through. To know that they’re not alone.
    3. It allows you to create a network and build a platform.
      1. Building a platform is very important for a writer because you want people to listen and respect what you have to say. If you start off now buy writing and gaining a readership, by the time you go to publish your book you will already have a platform of readers who would be willing to buy your product to read what more you have to say.
    4. It can be used as a tool to make money
      1. There a few ways to make some change with your blog:
        1. Google Ads – suggested for just starting out because there aren’t many criteria you have to meet. But they are cpc (cost per click) so won’t make much money if people aren’t clicking. Unfortunately, people don’t click that much.
        2. Earned media – writing reviews for products. You can find ways to do this by joining blog networks and ad networks. Lijit, Haven Home Media, SocialSpark, Clever Girls, Rivit Media, and BlogHer to name a few.
        3. Paid media – Private advertising and sponsors that you personally maintain on your blog.
        4. Corporate sponsors – partnering with a brand or corporation
      2. Don’t expect that starting a blog means that you can start making the big bucks.
      3. It takes some seriously hard work to make a profit from a blog.
      4. There’s now a million bloggers out there. How are you going to stand out and what do you have to offer that should make people want to pay you money? Are you going to offer something of value?
      5. To make money with your blog you need to treat it like a business. Businesses brand themselves. Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself when branding yourself as a blogger:
        1. What is your role on the web? What are you going to do? What are you going to give people?
        2. What are your core values? What are your guiding principles? These are the things that you stick to no matter what. For example, you’re always patient, you’re introverted, you’re creative, etc.
        3. What are your personality traits and characteristics? Unlike your core values, your personality traits can change and evolve.
        4. Think about what your story. Put your finger on how your story makes you unique and let people know that story.
        5. What is your promise?…to your readers, to your customers. What do you promise to be to them? This is tough because you may think you are one thing but your readers are expecting another. Need to find a balance. Condition your readers to expect you to be a certain way. What are you going to promise to be in the online space? (Amy Bradley Hole)
    1. Interact. Don’t just write your blog and not do anything else. Find other blogs to read then comment on them! Get a conversation going!
    2. Post frequently. Get into a schedule. That way you will condition your readers to know when to expect you to post without having to say it. When you are predictable this helps to attract more readers. Tip: Join an ad network where you are required to post.
    3. Keep a running list of ideas.
    4. Make a posting schedule.
    5. Engage readers by asking questions. Always be thinking of how you can make your blog an interactive experience for your readers.
    6. Engage in social media. People need to know that you’re writing. Get on Twitter or Facebook and let people know that you’re writing and that you have something to say.
    7. Be a resource. This will help when it comes attracting readers but will also help with branding and asking for money.
    8. Stay positive. No one likes a Debbie Downer.
    9. Be real and vulnerable. Vulnerability is probably one of the most attractive qualities in blogging. And as a writer, this is what professionals and readers are looking for in you.


Jeff Goins, http://goinswriter.com/

Jane Friedman, http://JaneFriedman.com/




So there’s my notes. Have any questions? Have something else you would like to add? I’d love to start a discussion; Leave a comment and let’s get the ball rolling!

  • Melanie Stiles - Thanks for getting us newbies started! 🙂 ReplyCancel

  • Lesli - I'm so glad blogging brought us together! You presentation was informative and eye-opening at the writer's group. A great job! High-five! ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - This is kind of an amazing outline. I'm still only 1/10 of the way through everything. (Not working for 4 days has left me with crazy backlog)

    I'm so glad we met too! And I'm enjoying getting to know you through your blog. I've found a few more things in common – like our New Year's posts. ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - Also, I have a question. How do you get photos side by side as in the post below? I always end up with wonky formatting when I try. ReplyCancel

    • Hannah - Blogstomp is great software for blogging photos! I use it to resize and watermark all of my pics. ReplyCancel

  • Irma Bozardt - Thanks so much for all the good information on blogging. We are so fortunate to have you be part of the WLG. I am excited to get started on my blog. I will be in touch. ReplyCancel

  • Irma Bozardt - Thanks so much for your notes on blogging. I missed your presentation at WLG in August. I'm a little slow getting to your email, but I am excited about stepping out and trying new things. Talk to you soon. Blessings! ReplyCancel

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